Check Your Aptitude First!

Fighter PlaneAditya has a fascination for planes. He would love to be a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force and defend his country, or would like to be the Commander of a giant Airbus flying to all destinations of the world. He is also willing to work hard towards his goal, and nothing else matters to him. In principle, his parents are reconciled to his choice, but they do not know how to go about it, and they have no idea at all whether Aditya will make a good pilot. Nor does Aditya.

If Wishes were Planes, then Beggars would Fly!

The reason for this anomaly is because Aditya is going purely by his interest, his passion. It is certainly important that you choose a career that you love, enjoy, and have a passion for. But paraphrasing that old proverb “if wishes were planes, then beggars would fly.” If a desire to be a pilot were enough, then every second youngster would be high up there in the sky.

The stark reality is that in every lucrative or attractive field, there are thousands who aspire, but a handful that actually make a breakthrough and are successful. What differentiates this handful from the numerous others who have to reconcile to doing something else? It is a thing called Aptitude.
I believe I can fly ... SURE, but check your APTITUDE first - ALTITUDE is not enough!
Check your aptitude first before you chose a career
Image Credit: AHC Maharsh

Aptitude is the Potential to Develop the Skills for a Career

Aptitude is not very well understood by many people. It is not a skill, since skills are acquired only when one starts studying a course. Aptitude is the potential and the inclination to develop the required skills. Without having this potential, you can struggle to learn but not make much headway.

Worse is that you may study very hard, and if you have the minimum intelligence level to match, you may actually pass the exams and gain a qualification. But you will always find the work difficult and may have to keep struggling all your life to progress in your career.

Hence it is absolutely essential that you make sure that your aptitude matches with your interests, and then only proceed. If you do not do so, you may miss the bus in your chosen field (e.g. Aditya may never be able to qualify for the NDA exam that will make him an Air Force pilot, and lose two years making repeated attempts) and then you may have to finally settle for a very mediocre and uninteresting career, having lost out opportunities that got missed out due to time wasted in pursuing an impractical dream.

You Can Try Checking Your Aptitude Now in 4 Simple Steps

Aptitude can be comprehensively tested by various experts and systematic reports given to candidates outlining what they would be good at, or matching their strengths and weaknesses to their field of interest. However, you can yourself, to a certain extent, check out your aptitude in the following four simple steps:

  1. List out all the human traits required to be good in the field of your choice. For example: A pilot requires good concentration, eyesight, instant decision-making ability, and general health. He needs to be good in physics, maths and geography. He should have a fondness for and the ability to adjust in diverse places and cultures, be able to keep irregular hours, and maintain the highest level of self-discipline. You can list out such qualities for any career that you are interested in, check which you already have, and which ones you can definitely develop over a period of time.
  2. Check whether you are more logical or emotional, whether you have sequential or lateral thinking, whether you are an introvert or extrovert, whether you have a sharp commercial acumen, whether you are dominating, assertive or submissive. Each of these attributes plays a role in specific careers.
  3. Check out how your lifestyle would be in your chosen profession. Keep in mind that some of the most glamorous and sought-after vocations have a deeper and serious side that requires hard work and struggle. For example, a pilot cannot allow himself to get addicted to drinks, he has to forego partying and late hours, he may have to be away from his family continuously, and he has to keep himself perfectly physically fit, because if he is grounded, he has no other qualification for an alternate career.
  4. Lastly, check out what your chances are of reaching your goal. Example: To be an Air Force pilot there is extensive competition among lakhs of candidates for a few seats. Do you come under that intelligence and hard-work category that you can plough through so much competition?

After Making a Career Choice, Have 1 or 2 Alternatives

Even when you have made your career choice, keep one or two alternatives in mind, which should also be based on your aptitude, and should preferably be very close to your desired career, so that you do not get disheartened and de-motivated. For example, if you cannot become a pilot, you may consider options like Air Traffic Controller, travel and tourism, aeronautical engineering, merchant navy, military service, or adventure sports. Thus you will be able to find a niche, and who knows .... maybe over a period of time, you can still move towards your chosen field!

Hey, if I just spread my wings, I can fly ...
Aptitute to become a pilot, AHCM
Image Credit: AHC Maharshi
Images Captions 'I believe I can fly', 'Hey, if I just spread my wings, I can fly' from lyrics of R. Kelly's song 'I believe I can fly'.

Career Guidance

This website was initially conceived and designed by the late Sitaram N
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